Kindergarten Handwriting Alphabet and Phonics {HWT Styles}

My current school district uses HWT to teach handwriting at the kindergarten level.  That means I have had to ditch alllllll of my handwriting packets that feature D'Nealian for now.  *insert frownie face with steam coming of nostrils here*

I find the GIANT books that come with the HWT program to be super challenging for my brand new kindergarten friends.  Their little hands fumble through the pages.  Someone always ends up on the wrong page.  Always.  Sigh.  So, to help guide us through the first 26 days of the school year, I use these little writing prompt sheets instead.  These also help us quickly move through lowercase handwriting practice and hit some phonics work at the same time.  Fast finishers can color the picture and add more details to the picture they drew in the box.

There are three different levels in all.  Choose which level is best for the group you are working with this school year.  I usually always start off with the beginner level.  There is still plenty of space for the smarty-pants kiddos to show off if need be.  This is great practice for anyone using a "ball and stick" style handwriting in kindergarten.
Click image to purchase this packet or read more about it in my TPT store.

Download the preview if you'd like a closer look at the pages.  You can pick them up half off over the weekend.  After that, the packet will go up to $3.00.


Back to School Sale {Aug 1 & 2}!

Save up to 25% on everything in my TPT store August 1 & 2!  This is a great time to save on some of the more expensive products, such as student portfolios and editable "I can" statements.  Be sure to add the promo code BTS2017.


CCSS Kindergarten Data Tracking Forms {FREE}

After tracking all of the common core data last year, I decided to make my life easier THIS school year.  I whipped up data tracking forms for all of the ELA and Math standards that contain room for three terms worth of data per standard/strand.

Click here to download this packet for FREE!

I used forms last year that someone else made and they were very cute, but the lack of lines to separate terms nearly drove me batty.  So for the sake of my eyeballs, sanity, and keeping an entire school year worth of information on one page, here's my solution.  I hope it helps you, too.

• CCSS kindergarten data tracking forms
• Covers ELA and Math
• 3 terms / grading periods per standard
• Editable name fields
• Section / strand dividers included

Here's how I go about editing the names.  I do it this way because I only want to type the names ONCE!  After I type them one time, I highlight, copy, and paste my way through the remainder of the document.

Step 1:
Starting with student #1 on your roster, begin typing names.  Simply click the word "name" that I provided as a placeholder and start typing.

Step 2:
Highlight the name fields.  You now either A) right click your mouse to find the copy feature or B) press Ctrl C on your keyboard.  {I have a PC...I have no idea how Mac users would utilize such a feature.}  When your fields are highlighted, they will have little boxes around each name.

Step 3:
Go to your next standard that requires the names of students 1-15.  Delete the name fields on that page/slide so that the page has blank name slots like this...

Step 4:
Use the Ctrl V feature on your keyboard OR right click your mouse and choose the "paste" option to paste names 1-15 onto your new page. 

If some of the names do not line up 100%, just move them around by dragging the text box.  I never bother to do this.  The way it looks above it literally how I will leave it for printing.  :) 

You will do this for each of the first pages per standard.  Then, move on to your page 2 kiddos.  Print the pages when you all done.  

***Be sure to SAVE the file!  Print it in color so you can see the difference between math and ELA standards in a snap.***

Please remember, this is a FREE file. If you have something snarky to say about it, please address it with me first by sending me an email before leaving negative feedback in my TPT store.  I might actually be able to help you with whatever issue you are having.  It took me hours and hours to make this for myself (and my team of eight kindergarten teachers).  I am sharing out of kindness.  We allllllll need a little more kindness in our world. kind.  :)

Happy data tracking!


The Good for NOTHING Button! Story Retell Character Crowns {FREE}

Teacher friends, have you discovered the book, The Good for NOTHING Button!, and all of the joy it brings?  I caught wind of it just this summer, and I can hardly wait to introduce it to my new kindergarten students. My husband picked up on my intense level of excitement...check out what he constructed to go along with the book...

That's right!  It's a good for nothing button!  Guess what it does.  Absolutely nothing!  Ahhhhh...I love it so much.  I decided to whip up a few character crowns that I will have students wear as they act out the book as I read.  I sometimes laminate my character crowns in order to get the most use out of them, but you certainly do not have to.  I do find they work best and are super sturdy when printed on card stock.  Enjoy!

Click image or here for your FREE download.

Link to free file:

Have fun with this story, and watch out...that good for nothing button might just make you smile.  :)

Writing to Read in Kindergarten with Nellie Edge and Julie Lay

Can I just say, this was my third time attending this particular conference in the past four years.  I love it that much.  I learn something new or discover a new way of implementing authentic writing in my classroom each time I listen two these two ladies speak.

Best of all, I am reminded of why ALL the things I do in my classroom are important to the lives of young children.  Sometimes we are not supported by the forces that be, and the lines of what we are doing in the classroom become foggy due to the demands of administration.  With that being said, I feel revitalized after this week's two day conference, and I can't wait to  roll out a new schedule for Writer's Workshop this school year.

One change I will make this year will be with my writing journals.  I will follow Julie's Writer's Workshop model, which requires students to only write in their official journals when they are at my teacher table.  Last year, I had each child write in their journal at once, and it was a constant plate spinning show, even with an instructional assistant in the room during our writing block.  Instead of  that hot mess, Julie suggests having four to six writers per day visit your teacher table.  This gives you a much smaller audience for teaching critical writing skills, and it certainly makes me more accessible as a teacher.  The rest of the class will also be writing during this time, but they will be assigned a type of writing that does not require nearly as much teacher attention.  {Kindergarten teachers, you know what I am talking about!}  I am looking forward to starting this our first full day of school.

I consider professional development workshops to be one of the best resources for teachers.  This is especially true when the topics are meaningful, research-based, and test driven in the classrooms of REAL classroom teachers and students.  Kindergarten (and preschool) teachers, if you ever get the change to attend a Nellie Edge conference, please do.  Be sure to check out her home on the web.  She has a bajillion and one FREE resources for meaningful and authentic literacy lessons.


Teacher Time Saver: Slow Cooker Mexican Style Pork

I will admit something here on my blog that I am very proud to talk about to others.  I have a borderline unhealthy love for cooking...and eating.  I am an amazing cook, and I do quite a bit of meal planning in order to keep up my little habit.  I indulge in small kitchen appliances simply because they make me crazy-happy.  My trusty slow cooker decided to die this week.  I suppose that makes it not so trusty, but I miss it already.  It died after cooking this amazing Mexican Style Pork.  I have mixed feelings about it conking out on me, but I do love buying new small appliances.

After shredding the pork roast with two forks, I served it over rice with a squeeze of lime juice.  It was amazing and quite simple to make.  Here's what I did...

You Will Need:
1 (2 lb.) FROZEN pork roast (any cut you like)
1 can of Rotel (any heat level you like)
1 large sweet onion, chopped or diced
1 green bell pepper cut into short strips
1 yellow bell pepper cut into short strips
1 big Tbsp of minced garlic (from a jar or fresh)
about 1/2 cup fresh minced cilantro
some salt
some pepper
blow it a kiss for extra love

Cook Time:
Toss the frozen pork with all of the ingredients on top of it.  Let it cook on high for 6 hours.  That is all.

If my roast had been fresh, not frozen, I probably would have cooked it for 6-8 hours on low instead of high.  You really can't go wrong.  Just cook it long enough so that it shreds when you try to pull it apart with two forks.

I cooked some plain rice to serve with the pork, but you could easily stick this shredded goodness in tortillas or serve over mashed potatoes.  It is very open ended, in terms of versatility.  It was also pretty tasty eating it straight off the cutting board.  :)  You might also be able to see from the picture that I served this with a salad and a skinny margarita!  (A must have for teachers on summer vacation!)

Do you plan meals for hectic school seasons?  I find meal planning especially helpful at the beginning of the year, anytime assessments/report cards are due, and the end of the year.  It is a life saver, and after losing 80 pounds in 2002 and keeping it off all this time, planning ahead is a huge part of my success in keeping my weight down and my health sparkly.

ReadyGEN Unit 1 Vocabulary Notebook Prompts

This will be a quick little ditty about my Unit 1 Vocabulary Interactive Notebook Prompts for ReadyGEN.  After an entire school year of refining this vocabulary's finally complete and ready to share with other teachers!   Click the images or links below to pick up a copy of your own.

Click here to purchase this 5 book vocabulary packet!

Click here to purchase this vocab packet!

All five stories from Unit 1 ReadyGEN Kindergarten are included.  There are 18 to 25 key vocabulary words per story.  If you would like to see the quality of my work before purchasing this packet, please download Unit1B: Life in a Pond as a FREE sample.  If you like it, be sure to buy the complete set.

These vocab prompts make for easy, engaging vocabulary work with your littles.  Use it with a full size composition notebook, or cut them in half (like I do!) to save space and money.  The vocabulary prompts were designed to fit into comp notebooks that have been cut.  So no worries about trying to make full size sheets fit into tiny journals.  Whatever you choose to use in your classroom, your students are SURE to benefit!